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The ruins of the ancient Canaanite city of Kedesh (alternate spelling: Cadesh) are located 3 km northeast of the modern Kibbutz Malkiya in Israel on the Israeli-Lebanese border.[1]

Tel Kedesh
הקירות שנשארו מהמקדש הרומאי בתל קדש.JPG
Tel Kedesh
Kedesh is located in Israel
Shown within Israel
Location Northern District, Israel
Region Upper Galilee
Coordinates 33°06′42″N 35°31′46″E / 33.111638°N 35.529517°E / 33.111638; 35.529517Coordinates: 33°06′42″N 35°31′46″E / 33.111638°N 35.529517°E / 33.111638; 35.529517
Type Settlement
Site notes
Condition In ruins

Kedesh was first documented in the Book of Joshua as a Canaanite citadel conquered by the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua. Ownership of Kedesh was turned over by lot to the tribe of Naphtali and subsequently, at the command of God, Kedesh was set apart by Joshua as a Levitical city and one of the Cities of Refuge along with Shechem and Kiriath Arba (Hebron) (Joshua 20:7).

In the 8th century BCE, during the reign of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria took Kedesh and deported its inhabitants to Assyria. (2 Kings 15:29)

Later, during the 5th century BCE, Kedesh may have become the capital for the Persian-controlled and Tyrian-administrated province of the Upper Galilee.[2]

In 259 BCE Kedesh was mentioned by Zenon, a traveling merchant from Egypt.[3]

Between 145 BCE and 143 BCE, Kedesh (Cades) was overthrown by Jonathan Maccabeus in his fight against Seleucid king Demetrius II Nicator.[4][5] It remains abandoned. From 1997 to 2012, Tel Kedesh was excavated by a team from the University of Michigan's Kelsey Museum of Archaeology in conjunction with the University of Minnesota,[6] focusing in 2010 and 2012 on the Persian and Hellenistic Administrative Building.

According to Jewish tradition, Deborah the prophetess, Barak the son of Abinoam and Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, as also Heber, were buried near the spring beneath the town of Kedesh.[7]



In the Book of Judges, the great oak tree in Zaanaim is stated to be near Kedesh, though this verse could be a reference to a second Tel Kedesh, located 3 km to the south of Megiddo, within the territory of the Israelite tribe of Issachar. (Judges 4:11)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Negev and Gibson, 2005, p. 278.
  2. ^ Berlin, Andrea and Herbert, Sharon (2005). "Life and Death on the Israel-Lebanon Border". Biblical Archaeology Review 31 (5), 34-43.
  3. ^ Papyrus Cairo Zenon I 59.004
  4. ^ 1 Maccabees 11:63-74 (text)
  5. ^ Antiquities of the Jews 13.154-62; The Wars of the Jews 2.459, 4.104.
  6. ^ "Tel Kedesh, Israel". Archived from the original on July 20, 2012. 
  7. ^ Burial Places of the Fathers, published by Yehuda Levi Nahum in book: Ṣohar la-ḥasifat ginzei teiman (Heb. צהר לחשיפת גנזי תימן), Tel-Aviv 1986, p. 248


  • Negev, Avraham; Gibson, Shimon (2005), Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land, Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-8264-8571-7